9.29.2012

Decorating My Front Porch for Fall

This week I went to my favorite local farmers' market, Pipkin's, and picked up several pumpkins to add some fall color to my front porch. I love all of the interesting colors and shapes of the pumpkins and gourds there - putting a mix of them on my front porch was a simple way to decorate for the fall season. 

I had to buy new planters too because my old urn planters kept blowing over and were a mess so I picked up these two planters that were on clearance at Home Depot for $20 each.

My original plan was to plant mums in each of them but honestly, I couldn't bring myself to do it because I'm just not a big fan of mums. (I had to say that quietly because I know that 99% of you girls love your mums and I wanted to minimize the gasps of horror at my confession.) I do love all of the pretty fall colors that mums come in and I can absolutely appreciate a pretty front porch that has been decorated using them but I just don't love the look of the blooms. As you know, there aren't a ton of other flower options out there this time of year so I decided to try a combination or ornamental corn and millet. I placed the ornamental corn in the back of planters to add some height. It's hard to tell when you're far away, but up close you can see the pretty striping of the leaves and the small colorful cobs of corn.

In the front, I planted ornamental millet, which has these great cattail-like plumes with a really cool texture. Home Depot has huge millet planters for $22.95, which I split in half for use in my two planters.

Since I had to spend money on new planters this fall, I didn't want to buy a new wreath so I just pimped out my wreath from last Christmas. 

It is a Smith & Hawkins star anise wreath that I bought from Target last year and it was my favorite wreath purchase ever because not only did I love the look of it, but the licorice smell of the star anise was amazing and lasted for months. 
To turn it into a fall wreath, I added a burlap bow from Ballards (available here) - these are are best bows and I buy a bunch of them after Christmas every year when they go on clearance. Then I took two mini pumpkins and a gourd, drilled a pair of holes in the back of each of them, inserted a piece of floral wire into each hole as far as it would go, and then hot glue gunned the wire in place. I then stuck each piece the wire through the front of the wreath until it came out through the back where I twist tied the two pieces of wire together to secure the pumpkins in place. Doing it this way, I didn't have to use any hot glue on the wreath itself so I can remove the pumpkins in a few weeks and still use the wreath for Christmas.

While Target doesn't sell the star anise wreath anymore, it would be a very simple, inexpensive one to DIY. Simply wrap some brown burlap around a styrofoam wreath and use hot glue to attach star anise seed pods (which you can get from a local ethnic market or grocery store or on Amazon here) to the front and sides of the wreath. If you love the smell of black licorice, you will LOVE having a star anise wreath!
Since I haven't ever shared any pictures of the exterior of our home and since I know you all love "before & after" pics, I thought you might like seeing what our front entry looked like when we bought our house compared to what it looks like now:


What do you think? For loads of other ideas about decorating your outdoor entry for fall, be sure to check out this post if you haven't already seen it. Have a great weekend everyone!
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9.26.2012

Country Barrel Giveaway: Hanging Mason Jars & More!

The Country Barrel Giveaway is now closed - thanks for entering!

Happy Wednesday friends! It's time for our monthly giveaway and I know you're gonna love it!  It's from Etsy shop The Country Barrel, which sells a wide variety of upcycled items made by the shop's crafty owners, Devon and Tanita.  Two of their favorite things to craft with are mason jars and wine corks, which they use to make the most beautiful, functional, and affordable creations!  My hands down favorites are their handmade hangers that can turn ordinary mason jars into gorgeous hanging lanterns:


I have visions of an outdoor dinner party with dozens of hanging mason jars filled with candles...
Martha Stewart Weddings
Another one of my Country Barrel favorites is their "frog lids" which are upcycled mason jar lids with wire dividers that make it a snap for you to create the perfect flower arrangement and keep your flowers in place. 



The frog lids are also available with attached hangers - how beautiful would these be lining the aisle for a wedding or along the walkway to a reception?!


One of the Country Barrel's most unique mason jar products is their solar light lids:

Simply screw the solar lids onto mason jars - they are charged by the sun during the day...

and then at night you get to enjoy the beautiful solar light!  A must-have for every backyard deck and patio!

All of The Country Barrel's unique mason jar lids and hangers can be ordered with or without the actual mason jars so you can either take advantage of their selection of unique mason jars and purchase the lids/hangers with jars attached or you can order just the lids/hangers (a great way to save on shipping) and use them on jars that you already have or ones that you purchase locally.

A few of Country Barrel's other unique mason jar products are their soap dispenser lids that can be screwed onto a mason jar to add instant farmhouse beauty to a bathroom or kitchen,

tumbler lids and straws that turn mason jars into shabby chic lidded glasses, 

and even mason jar bird feeders!



Remember how I mentioned that Devon and Tanita also like to craft with wine corks? They use them to create these fabulous wine cork letters!!! 



I'm wondering why I didn't come up with the brilliant idea of creating a product that requires the drinking of several bottles of wine a week to keep up with orders - Devon and Tanita, you are smart, very smart.... :-)  There's lots more to see at The Country Barrel's Etsy shop (including many one-of-a-kind vintage items) so be sure to visit their shop {click here} and check out all that they have to offer!

Now for the giveaway - Devon and Tanita are generously giving one lucky winner a $40 credit to use at The Country Barrel plus free shipping of the items that you choose! To enter the giveaway, simply use the fun widget below to get up to four entries by (1) commenting on this post about what you would choose if you won, (2) "liking" Driven by Décor on Facebook, (3) "liking" The Country Barrel on Facebook, and/or (4) posting the link for this giveaway on your FB page:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The giveaway ends Tuesday, October 2nd at 11:59 PM EST. Entrants must be 18 years or older and residents of the continental U.S.  The winner will be notified by email and announced on the blog.  Good luck!
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9.24.2012

Decorating Inspiration: Bar Carts

Monday mornings are always a bit rough as I rouse the kids from their deep sleep to get ready for school and wake up facing my ever-growing to-do list for the week. The good news is that most weeks go by fast and the weekend is here before you know it so it's not too early in the week to start thinking about gathering with friends for Friday night Happy Hour, right?! Which brings me to the topic of this post - bar carts. Love 'em! Most of us have barware that stays hidden in our kitchen cabinets - you know, all of those wedding gifts you registered for but rarely use...  Bar carts are perfect for displaying your barware while also adding a neat decorative element to your room and freeing up precious kitchen cabinet space.  If you don't own any neat barware, you can buy some fantastic glasses and decanters for not a lot of money at places such as HomeGoods.  Even the alcohol bottles that you may have stashed in your cupboards can add to the decorative element of a bar cart, as so many of them (especially whisky and bourbon bottles) have cool, unique shapes. Add at least one decorative accessory to your bar, such as flowers or a lamp, and your bar is open for business! Here's some bar cart inspiration to show you how cool this look can be:
{Emily Henderson}
{Maison 21}
{Jan Showers}
{Jennifer Boles via Atlanta Home Magazine}
{New Traditionalists}
The bar cart in this pretty dining area comes alive with the addition of some bright lemons and greenery.
{Kate Jackson Design}
If you love the look of bar carts but aren't a big drinker, instead of filling up your cart with barware and adding one decorative accessory, do the reverse - put a few glasses and a decanter on top and fill the rest with cool accessories. 
{Kasey Buick}
Bar carts can also be used in other rooms of your house for un-Happy Hour related reasons.  Use them as a side table, nightstand, console behind a couch, or even as storage for towels and toiletries in a bathroom.
{Soloman+Bauer+Giambastiani Architects}



{Linda McDougald Design}
If you're looking for a bar cart and like vintage items, you may do well looking on Craigslist or at antique shops or fairs.  There are also several fabulous bar carts available from some of my favorite home stores. I absolutely love Serena & Lily's South Seas Bar Cart that is made of a handwoven rattan with a clear lacquer finish. They also make a side cart that is similar in depth and height but not as wide - I think it would be perfect as a side table or nightstand.

A few weeks ago I was in Crate & Barrel and saw their Libations Bar Cart, which is beautiful in person. 

Ballard Designs' Jill Bar Cart, has a bamboo-style frame with an antique gold finish.

Williams Sonoma Home has this beautiful Beckett Bar Cart, which comes in antique brass or polished nickel with glass shelves.  It's a pricey one though at $999.

If you're a modern gal, I love Restoration Hardware's 1950s Milo Bar Cart that has a nickel-plated steel X-based frame with glass shelves.

So in addition to thoughts of Friday Happy Hour, I have one more thing to help get you through the week - an awesome giveaway that starts on Wednesday. Check back in to see what it's all about!

Cheers,
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9.21.2012

My New Succulents and Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree (and the master plan for keeping them alive...)

Is it possible for a plant to be in style? There are two plants that I'm seeing over and over again in design magazines that make quite an impression - succulents and fiddle leaf figs.  If plants can be hip and in style, then that's exactly what these two plants are. While I think that plants can be beautiful additions to any room's décor, I have to admit that I have very few of them in my home.  Because, well, I tend to kill them.  Until recently, the only survivors in my home were two plants that are entirely unkillable - they get completely limp and sad after weeks of neglect but then perk right back up when finally given some water.  I've been drooling over the gorgeousness of succulents and fiddle leaf fig trees for months but knew it was useless to buy them because they would ultimately die....until I found an iPhone app that is made for black thumbed people like me - Koubachi.  It's a free app that allows you to input information about each of your plants (including the type of plant, your name for the plant, and where in your home it's located) and then it reminds you when your plant needs to be watered or fertilized. Simple but genius. 

When you start using the app, it has to determine each plant's water needs so you calibrate it by fully watering your plant and then informing Koubachi when the soil becomes dry (or if you want to go hard core, you can buy a $99 Wi-Fi plant sensor to automatically sense your plant's water, temperature, and light needs). With the hope that this new-found tool will help me keep my plants alive, I decided I would finally buy my long-wanted succulents and fiddle leaf fig tree. I don't know what it is about succulents but I absolutely love how they look: 
{The Succulent Source}
{Terrain via Mint Basil}

{via}
I went pretty simple with my succulents - I bought two jade plants from IKEA and planted them in this Elise Footed Bowl from Pottery Barn that is the centerpiece for my kitchen table. I made sure to drill a few holes in the bottom of the bowl for drainage, lined the bottom of the bowl with some small rocks, and used soil that was specifically made for cactuses and succulents.
I love the fleshy green leaves of the jade plant and while I've only had it about a month, I'm happy to report that it's thriving!


And fiddle leaf fig trees - how can you not love how they look? I have been obsessed with them for quite some time because they are almost like sculptural works of art. Can you envision how much less interesting these rooms would be without the fiddle leaf figs?!

{Elle Decor}
{Cecilie Starin}
{Elle Decor}
{Cote de Texas}
{Washington Post}
{Live and George}
I had a hard time finding a fiddle leaf fig tree - I read online that others have had luck finding them at IKEA, Home Depot, or Lowe's but I struck out there as well as at every garden center in town.  I finally found a garden center that would order one in for me and a few weeks ago I brought home this little lovely.  She's a pretty little gal - not nearly as tall and leafy as the ones in the design magazines but I wasn't ready to spend the hundreds of dollars that the large fiddle leaf fig trees cost. My little beauty was in a fairly small pot and the garden center recommended that she be transplanted into a larger one
so I bought this rattan storage basket from Target and then transplanted my fiddle leaf fig into a large plastic planter that I nestled snuggly inside the basket and covered with Spanish moss.
I love the way that she livens up this bare corner in my dining room!

Fiddle leaf fig leaves are fabulously large and shiny green - beautiful!

I'll keep you updated about how my new green housemates fare.  Do you have a favorite plant in your house that you'd recommend I try?
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